Many-Worlds Browsing for Control of Multibody Dynamics



Animation techniques for controlling passive simulation are commonly based on an optimization paradigm: the user provides goals a priori, and sophisticated numerical methods minimize a cost function that represents these goals. Unfortunately, for multibody systems with discontinuous contact events these optimization problems can be highly nontrivial to solve, and many-hour offline optimizations, unintuitive parameters, and convergence failures can frustrate end-users and limit usage. On the other hand, users are quite adaptable, and systems which provide interactive feedback via an intuitive interface can leverage the user's own abilities to quickly produce interesting animations. However, the online computation necessary for interactivity limits scene complexity in practice.

We introduce Many-Worlds Browsing, a method which circumvents these limits by exploiting the speed of multibody simulators to compute numerous example simulations in parallel (offline and online), and allow the user to browse and modify them interactively. We demonstrate intuitive interfaces through which the user can select among the examples and interactively adjust those parts of the scene that don't match his requirements. We show that using a combination of our techniques, unusual and interesting results can be generated for moderately sized scenes with under an hour of user time. Scalability is demonstrated by sampling much larger scenes using modest offline computations.


Christopher D. Twigg and Doug L. James. Many-worlds browsing for control of multibody dynamics. ACM Transactions on Graphics (SIGGRAPH 2007), 26(3), August 2007.



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